Do you love your job?

Do you love your job?  I was speechless when a friend asked me this question.  Actually, I was in the middle of a massage at a weekend retreat for women when asked the question – “do you love your job?”

I don’t remember how I answered it; something like “I love most things about my job”.  It felt like a loaded question.  If I don’t love my job, does it mean I’m not in the right place?  If I say I do love my job, does it sound cliché?   

I was on a panel yesterday with other individuals talking about stress and compassion fatigue.  One attorney said he loves his work; he arrives at 5:30 in the morning and usually finishes around 6:00 p.m. I thought – ugh, that sounds exhausting.  And where does a family fit in?

I worked a 12-hour day this week in order to take yesterday and today off to spend with my son on Spring Break.  It was nice to get a lot done and not be rushed to do pick-up and fight the interstate traffic at 5:00.  As I left the office building, I walked the streets of downtown Des Moines as the sun was setting and felt relaxed that everything was taken care of at home (without me).

I can see how it is easy to work long days when you enjoy the work you do.  At my swearing in ceremony, the president of the Iowa Bar Association warned us that the law is an evil mistress.  She will tempt you away from your family and personal life with feelings of success and the pressure of deadlines that comes with practicing law.

I know being at work is easier than being a parent.  I know that I love being a working parent.  I love my job for the flexibility it gives me.  I love helping people solve their legal problems.  I love my officemates and colleagues.  I love working downtown.  Does all this love correspond with loving my job?  I don’t know.  I am still unsure of what “love your job” means.

Perhaps that is the lesson learned from the question.  Each person has a different interpretation.  When I was considering a different career, I listened to a podcast by Marcus Buckingham. I remember him saying, if you enjoy your work 80% of the time, you are in the right place.  Using this description, yes, I love my job.  The 20% of the job that is “meh” includes tasks that are a necessity of owning a business.

A better question to ask someone is whether they believe their gifts and talent are utilized in their current job.  If the answer is yes, then love will follow.

Hope WoodComment